History of Elm City Communities
The Housing Authority of New Haven (HANH) was formed as a result of the US Housing Act of 1937, which enabled states to establish Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to address the poor living conditions in the nation’s cities as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. Elm City Communities/Housing Authority of New Haven (ECC/HANH) was among the first PHAs to be established in response to local concerns about unsanitary and unsafe residential conditions in many neighborhoods in the city and to address a shortage of safe and sanitary housing options for families.
On July 11, 1938, the City of New Haven Board of Aldermen approved a resolution authorizing the Housing Authority of the City of New Haven, CT. Subsequently, Mayor John Murphy convened the first meeting of the Authority on Friday, August 5, 1938, having appointed a Chair, Professor C. E. A. Winslow, and four other commissioners, including George Crawford, Elizabeth Fox, James Welch, and James Hook (who was unable to attend the inaugural meeting).
As no space was found in municipal buildings to house the Authority, HANH was initially hosted on the Yale University campus in Hendrie Hall until moving into its first offices on Ashmun Street. HANH was initially funded by a loan from the city. The first organizational meeting of the HANH Board was held on August 18, 1938, with all Commissioners present. Dr. Allan Twichell was appointed the first interim Secretary / Executive Director at a salary of $400 per month.
Much has happened over the past 80 years.
The Authority has employed hard-working staff who have worked to improve the conditions in this city. It hasn’t been without challenges, setbacks, and struggles. But over 80+ years, we have persisted and remained the lifeline for thousands of families: a bridge out of poverty, a road into the middle class. We have strived to go beyond safe and sanitary to be an organization that builds communities of choice.
Our first development, Elm Haven, which was built in 1940 in the Dixwell neighborhood, represented one of the first public housing developments in the US. This was followed by two additional developments built in 1941: Quinnipiac Terrace and Farnam Courts.
We’re committed to meeting changing needs
These three developments were also our first major redevelopments, with Elm Haven being transformed into Monterey Place, a thriving mixed-income community, followed by the redevelopment of Quinnipiac Terrace and the transformation of Farnam Court into Mill River Crossing.
All three reflect the change in design from what previously met the needs of families to what our current residents need:
- Places and spaces that each family can call their own.
- Communities where you cannot distinguish the subsidized rental from the market rental, the subsidized homeownership from the market rate homeownership.
- Places where neighbors can gather, support each other and learn together.
- Places where children can grow and learn and play.
- Places where the supports and services that we each need may be available.
- Places of opportunity
Growing stronger, more diverse services
In the 1970s, in response to a growing elderly population, HANH built several high-rise and senior developments.
In 2001, HANH was designated Moving to Work and used that momentum to go from troubled to exemplary. Through this designation, HANH launched innovative programs that support the dreams of our youth, helped move adults to self-sufficiency and enhanced the quality of life for our seniors and residents living with disabilities.
In 2009, we rebranded ourselves as Elm City Communities/HANH, reflecting our commitment to rebuilding communities into communities of choice. We envision a New Haven where every resident has a safe and decent home that they can afford with opportunities to reach their goals.
ECC/HANH has evolved from post-World War workforce housing for those who worked primarily in the gun factories of Winchester and Olin, to our current communities where families at all income levels live together in communities full of services and resources.
Elm City Communities Today
We have grown to be three related, but separate organizations focused on operations, development and management of quality housing.
- We have helped residents purchase homes and start entrepreneurial ventures.
- We have used our purchasing power to invest in small, minority- and women-owned businesses.
- We have an 80+year track record of making a difference in this community.